Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feb. 21: The news YOU need to know...

.."Snowy weather challenges N.B. road-clearing crews."
..."Baby born at Dieppe home."
...."Impact of federal job cuts debated." ( meaning - We don't know anything because nobody knows what's going on.)

Will federal job cuts help us out of recession? Of course not. Federal jobs did not cause the recession. That was caused by corrupt banks and greedy business leaders. So cutting federal jobs will only make it worse. But it will provide Harper with fatuous speeches about how he has saved money by making more people poor.

That pretty well sums up section A - except for lots and lots of pictures of cars for sale.

NewsToday has the problem of almost all world and national news. It is meaningless without some general understanding of where it fits into the general picture. Hugo Chavez is still sick, and not appearing in public. That has been a big story for days, now. But a big story about what? We need the context. That context, in most papers, appears on the editorial and op ed pages.

But not the Moncton Times and Transcript.

So lets try to get the context just for Chavez and Venezuela.

The US has long seen Central and South America as a happy hunting ground for American business  by supplying cheap labour and cheap resources, and charging low to zero taxes for American business - and often including encouragements like refusing to put environmental controls in place, and providing free police to beat up, torture or assassinate anybody who complains.

To do this, the US has for a century installed dictators and corrupt "democracies", creating a very small rich group in each of the countries to help keep things in order. In return, the various dictators ensure that there is no spending on education or health care, and no loose talk about minimum wages. (That would hurt profits.) That's why Haiti makes big profits for investors - but for most of its people is just the poorest country in the hemisphere.

But that is coming undone. Over fifty years ago, Fidel Castro successfully challenged this by overthrowing a particularly brutal dictator named Batista.  (Of course, the relatively small number of wealthy Cubans who had been in cahoots with the dictator fled to Florida where they could pose as freedom-lovers.)

The US made several attempts to murder Castro. But he got away with it - the first Latin American leader to do so. And, for all the blather in the North American press, he made rapid social progress in feeding and housing and education and providing health care for a population that had never had such things before. Today, it far outclasses the US in those categories.

hadopted the same methods and, again, with good results. Now two Latin American leaders have stopped American (and Canadian) business from pillaging their countries, and have improved social conditions.

The American government is not happy. And the illness of Chavez could be an opening for, perhaps, a civil war with imported 'patriots' to overthow Chavez (with suitable weaponry from the US). Then we could all go back to happier days when Americans owned Cuban factory farms and Venezuelan oilfields.

That's the context for almost every news story from Latin America. But you'd never guess it from reading the Moncton TandT.
Then there's the editorial. It begins with illogical slush about what a sensational price we're getting for constructon of the new high school. Well - with a tab eleven million dollars UNDER the government's estimate. one should surely wonder about the smarts of the goverment estimate. Or perhaps about the honesty of it.

The editorial writer pronounces that in his opinion, the government estimate was reasonable. Oh? He has expertise and access to full information on the estimates for multimillion dollar projects?

Then he writes that our leaders have been wise to drop the requirement for an auditorium and for fixed seating it. It's not worthwhile. Oh? The editorial writer is also an expert on school auditoriums and seating?  Anyway,he writes, it really doesn't matter because not all MCHS parents are drama fans.

So, hey. let's carry that spirit all the way. Not all MCHS parents are fans of science labs  - so let's cut them out and save even more money. Nor do all them like reading - another possible big saving by cutting the library. I mean, all we really need is rock music and beer.  God forbid we should produce students with a broad knowledge of culture and the ability to think.

This editorial is so puerile, ignorant and yahooish that is sets a new low even for the TandT.
Norbert can be such a hypocrite, it makes me feel ill to read him. This time his column is about patting Shawn Graham on he head, and dumping all over civil servants in the case of some people lying and/or withholding information on the Shawn Graham case by high civil servants.

First, this accusation comes from a man who has spent his life working for the most lying and information withholding newspaper I have ever seen. And he has played a leading role in that. You hypocrite, Norbert.

Secondly, even the highest civil servants are employees. They obey orders from the boss. The boss is the cabinet minister or, ultimately, the premier. If they refused to hand over documents, they almost certainly refused on orders from the politicians. Norbert has a bad habit of forgiving politicians, then jumping all over civil servants.

Indeed, given the length of the investigation, it is surely possible that both Alward and Graham were involved in the hush-up.

As to Graham's error being no big deal, you have a weird standard of ethics, Norbert. I don't know whether he got any kickback - and neither does Norbert. But to dismiss Graham's behaviour in a case that cost us 73 million is absurd. A premier should know the rules, particularly when he sits down with a committee to give away millions of dollars.

Why was it so important for him to sit on that committee? To say that he knew of his father's involvement in the past but didn't bother to check on the present situation is to say that Shawn Graham was a particularly numbskulled premier. To dismiss the whole thing without even looking at the questions it raises is even more irresponsible. It may well be that his father gained nothing. And making that thhe main issue might well be a red herring. As it is, the whole handling of it smells - and the TandT coverup and dismissal of it just makes it smell worse.

Norbert ends with a typical "The last word" - a slur and a sneer for public servants. I will respect you, Norbert, when you have a slur and a sneer for the billionaires you have spent your life kissing up to.


Alec Bruce's column is a pretty gloomy one, but bang on. I'll take it just a step further. The western economies, after pillaging the rest of the world for some 400 years, are now themselves being gutted by their own economic leaders - with the help of sell-out news media like the Irving Press.
Which brings us to Rod Allen's column......
Excellent column by Jody Dallaire. The reality is that in Harper, we have an ideologically narrow and morally vacant prime minister. He plays heavily to the rich, and has nothing but contempt for the rest of us. It is virtually a religious principle for him that we should not have a government childcare programme. He has contempt for those who cannot afford private child care while they go to work for minimum wage.  He has contempt for charities, for the environment, for First Nations.

His love for big business is unmatched by any caring for the rest of us - except for a few small groups who can be gulled into continuing to vote for him - Christian fundamentalists, Zionists  (who mistake his speeches for actions), and those yahoos who think putting more people in jail longer will solve crime.  If the latter had any brains at all, they would note that the US has more people in prison for longer than any other country in the world. And yet, so I hear, there is crime in the US.

Sorry to be late today. On Thursday morning, I have a history class for seniors, some of whom are almost as old as I am - though not as pretty, of course.


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